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We’re Not Leaving. Despite Location Changes, FM Pride to Return.

Culture | July 16th, 2023

By Maddie Robinson 

maddierobi.mr@gmail.com

Fargo-Moorhead Pride, considered one of the biggest rural pride celebrations in the United States, is returning August 10-13 for a weekend of fun and festivities.

This year will be the 23rd official FM Pride celebration according to Chelsea Diederich, chair of the FM Pride Planning Committee. Similar to previous years, FM Pride 2023 is projected to draw thousands of people to its wide variety of events across the entire weekend.

FM Pride 2023 is also making a few sizable changes, with two of the biggest events, Pride in the Park and the Pride Parade, being moved across the river to Moorhead. In light of these shifts, Diederich said the planning committee didn’t want to add new events to their programming in case they were to stretch themselves too thin. Rather, they worked on strengthening the existing events the Fargo-Moorhead community has grown to know and love.

“We’re kind of focusing on just making sure we bring the events that our community expect and in a safe and inclusive environment,” Diederich said.

FM Pride 2023 follows a schedule similar to previous years.

August 10th Events

LGBTQ+ Trivia and Karaoke: Returning from last year, Rhombus Guys is hosting a night filled with LGBTQ+ trivia, karaoke and a rooftop movie. The free event starts at 8pm and is ages 21+ after 9pm

Pride Vinyl Night: Also from last year, Front Street Taproom is holding a Pride Vinyl Night starting at 8pm. This event is free.

August 11th Events

Youth Pride Drag Show: The Youth Pride Drag Show is an all-ages, family-friendly drag show that starts at 7pm in the MSUM Comstock Memorial Union Ballroom. Tickets are available at the door for $10.

At the time of writing, performers are still being solidified for the show, but will be announced on FM Pride’s social media accounts.

Diederich said this event is an extremely popular one in the community and has a welcoming and accepting atmosphere, especially because of its inclusivity for younger audiences.

“It's a really fun event because you just get to see kids being around their peers and in a supportive environment where they can really be themselves,” Diederich said.

The Pride Dance Party is a 21+ event in the Millenium Ballroom at the Avalon Events Center. The dance starts at 10 p.m. and tickets are available at the door for $10.

The party is an ode to different eras of music, with songs being played from the 1970s through the 2000s. Attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite era for the dance.

Aug. 12th Events

The Pride 5K Fun Run will start at Viking Ship Park at 8:30am at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead. Cost of registration is $30, but children aged 12 and under can enter free of charge. Pre-registration is required and closes at midnight on August 10th.

This returning event is meant to promote and celebrate the Fargo-Moorhead LGBTQ+ community’s commitment to healthy lifestyles.

Pride in the Park is a staple in FM Pride’s programming and will be held at Bluestem Center for the Arts in Moorhead from 11am-4pm

This free, all-ages event will feature over 100 vendors, including nonprofits, artisans, Pride organizations and local community groups. Live music entertainment from local talent will also be at the event.

Last year, Pride in the Park had 169 vendors from various businesses and organizations, a 20% increase from 2021. This year, FM Pride is expecting to meet and exceed that number and see a large turnout of both vendors and attendees.

“We saw some really big growth over the past two years and so we're kind of expecting that to continue this year,” Diederich said.

Pride Patio Palooza is a newer FM Pride event that started last year. This year, the palooza will be hosted at Wild Terra Cider from 2-6pm and is a free, all-ages and pet-friendly event.

The Pride Block Party is one of the biggest and most popular FM Pride events. The party is at Fargo Brewing Company and is for ages 21+.

The event starts at 5pm, a Parking Lot Party with food trucks, a full-service bar and music. Then at 8:30pm, an outdoor drag show hosted by Nina DiAngelo with performances by Maxi and A'keria C. Davenport, a contestant on the hugely popular television series, RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Tickets start at $20 with a VIP ticket option available for $50.

Aug. 13th Events:

The Pride Interfaith Service is meant to bring together people from different religious and spiritual worldviews for an afternoon of worship. The event starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre.

The service is for all ages and will feature music and fellowship. It concludes just before the Pride Parade, the final event of the 2023 FM Pride weekend.

Pride Parade: Possibly the biggest event of FM Pride, the Pride Parade begins at 2pm and will start on 28th Ave S near Minnesota State Community and Technical College. The parade will feature hundreds of local businesses, organizations and individuals in a celebration of the Fargo-Moorhead LGBTQ+ community.

Every year, a grand marshal is selected to lead the parade through a nomination process. Previous grand marshals include Anna Johnson, a Two Spirit artist and executive director of The Human Family, an organization that supports human rights and social justice through film and art, and Conrad Larson, a transgender community activist who is active in fighting racist and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

After the parade, a Post Parade Celebration will take place with numerous speakers such as the grand marshal and other community advocates and leaders.

With Pride in the Park and the Pride Parade, two events that have historically taken place in Fargo, being moved to Moorhead, Diederich made it clear that the decision took several months to make.

Growing attendance at FM Pride’s events was a factor in the move, and the recent construction project at the Island Park pool was another reason. However, one of the biggest causes for the location change was recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation circulating throughout North Dakota.

Last April, the North Dakota Legislature advanced a record-breaking 10 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in one day. Some of the bills included banning trans students from playing sports that aligned with their gender identities and criminalizing giving gender-affirming care to minors.

In contrast, Minnesota has become a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community with various bills being passed this year, like protecting the right to receive gender-affirming care and banning conversion therapy. The difference in sentiment and legislation toward LGBTQ+ people in each state made it a no-brainer to move some events across the border.

“For the events where it was all ages and very public spaces, we wanted to make sure that where we were celebrating, everyone felt safe and it was an inclusive environment,” Diederich said.

However, despite negative rhetoric and bills surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, Diederich said the FM Pride Planning Committee had little issue finding sponsors or vendors for this year’s festivities, due to their staunch supporters.

“If we didn't have the support of our community, our businesses that give back to us, we wouldn't be able to hold these events,” Diederich said.

Even though FM Pride is a major part of Fargo’s history and culture, Diederich is still confident that the moved events will be as successful in Minnesota as they were in North Dakota.

As LGBTQ+ people receive massive waves of discrimination, Diederich said Pride events, especially in places like the Fargo-Moorhead area, can provide an accepting environment for members of the community to celebrate openly.

“It's the one time of the year when we can all come together and just support each other,” Diederich said.

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